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Online San Diego

From the November 7, 1997 ComputorEdge (Issue 1545)

By Jim Trageser

Been ignoring North County of late, so here s both a BBS and Web site from the far reaches of our region:

Inner Revolution BBS
(760) 432-6225

Here s a bulletin board system that s using the increasing disappearance of BBSs as an opportunity for growth; Inner Revolution s sysops are making clear that they re here to stay, and are encouraging BBS orphans to come for a visit. From what I can tell, it s a free board (well, for callers -- no BBS is free to the folks who run it) and has been around for four years now.

Inner Revolution runs Renegade, and featuers nice color ANSI screens -- some even with animation. (And, yes, I know that compared to the fancy animated JAVA scripts on some Web pages, ANSI screens are horribly primitive, like something you d find on a cave wall in France with pictures of mastadons or something. But you know what? It took a hell of a lot more imagination to be creative in ANSI than it does in today s multi-media world. I, for one, am impressed by Inner Revolution s screens, so save your sarcastic e-mail for Bill Gates ...). The board s stated themes are arts, dreams, changes and fun.

The login and registration procedures are easy to follow, as are the menus – you can enter a question mark just about anywhere to get a list of options.

There are several dozen conversation subs – some local to this BBS only, some netted on something called North County Link (I was unable to determine if there are any other BBSs participating in that one), and others linked nationally through JediNet. The JediNet conversations seemed to have pretty steady traffic; the NCLink ones less. But the key to a successful BBS is the number of messages on the local subs, and here Inner Revolution does quite well. The general conversation area, Talk Amongs Yourselves, was fairly busy, with new posts almost every day. It s certainly more intimate than similar USENET groups, although even on Inner Revolution s local subs you better have thick skin. Something about the anonymity of a computer screen seems to turn too many of us into rude jerks – road rage on the information superhighway.

As a non-validated new user, I didn t have full run of the board. But sysop sent me e-mail saying there are thousands of shareware programs on a CD-ROM, as well as several online games. What I could tell is that there is an active community at Inner Revolution – worth checking out if you live in North County.

North San Diego County Community Service Network

The North San Diego County Community Service Network is aimed at the cities of Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista – North County s Tri-Cities region. Specifically, it is designed to help nonprofit groups in those cities get their message out to the public via the World Wide Web. Participating groups include the Carlsbad Children s Museum, Hospice of North Coast, North County Lifeline, and the Women s Resource Center.

The Web site has an area where Tri-City nonprofits can post their wish lists (for instance, the Children s Museum needs a computer with touchscreen monitor if anyone has one), a calendar of events for the region, and an update area where participating nonprofits can maintain their information on the site.

Much of the site is still a work in progress, though. There is great promise here, and hopefully the folks running the site will be able to keep up with it.

Sidewalk addendum

After my recent column on Microsoft s Sidewalk Web guides, I received the following e-mail from a reader who wanted to not be identified. But it's a pretty funny illustration of how even the most technologically advanced organizations – including, it seems, Microsoft, can be overwhelmed by the complexities of modern life:

I do hope you have things together better than These people are supposed to be in the information technology scene and they are not capable of receiving e-mail. E.g., they ask for schedules and we cannot e-mail them so they can just download the files. We have to fax them. This is scary. ... If they cannot get their act together, it is doubtful they can retype without making some major errors.